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Does Google TV Still Have a Fighting Chance?

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Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) hasn't had much luck with its Google TV platform so far.

The first wave of compatible hardware from Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI  ) and Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) is underwhelming and downright confusing to some reviewers. Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) and News Corp. (NYSE: NWS  ) , among other major networks and video sources, can't be convinced that it's a good idea to allow these machines to access their content. And even though I've left Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) behind in favor of an all-digital infotainment existence, Google TV never even made it onto the watchlist of media-streaming gadgets for my living room. And I say that as a longtime fan of Google's products, philosophy, and overall mojo.

Despite all of these headwinds, Google's hardware partners haven't lost all interest in developing the platform. Both Toshiba and Vizio are said to be developing their own takes on Google TV, supposedly introducing their products at the CES electronics confab in January. Samsung is another probable contributor. Samsung and Toshiba are members of the backing committee for Google TV's underlying Android software, so it makes perfect sense for these electronics giants to make the leap from handsets to set-top boxes or TV sets in the near future.

The next update of the Android platform is expected to include better support for large screens such as tablet computers, which should also play well with the giant screens in our living rooms. As an Android developer myself, I've already been asked to update my software with positively enormous application icons, which could indicate that we're on the cusp of a major living-room push where those large graphics would make sense.

Google TV is still facing big roadblocks until the networks come around to Google's point of view and the hardware gets both cheaper and more refined. Add Google to your Foolish watchlist to keep an eye on how the platform develops -- or doesn't develop, as the case may be.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Walt Disney and Google are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Logitech International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a written covered strangle position on Logitech International. The Fool owns shares of Google and Logitech International. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2010, at 1:17 PM, motleyjedi wrote:

    Google TV = DOA!

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2010, at 4:05 AM, roviivor wrote:

    I think you need to change your perspective a little bit. Putting a browser in TV is long overdue.

    I have used Google TV for more than two weeks now. Its worth its price now, and holds much promise for later.

    I have the $179 Revue with Dish. For starters, it adds a DLNA funcionality to my TV, and with that, why would anyone pay $400 more to buy an internet enabled TV (moreover when you get with that is nothing but some widgets and other very limited functionality). DLNA means I can add a few hundred GB of content via USB and scroll and seach right on the TV screen. And also, I can just watch my pictures from the laptop on the TV without having to move them to Picasa, etc. or use a card slot first.

    There is Netflix, and there is PBS Kids kind of web sites redesigned for TV - that makes my family happy. I can browse internet on TV for news, etc. when I come and sit in front of it. The keyboard is so complete, its natural. I understand the concern with content providers not opening up to Google TV, but thats fien for now. I have Dish TV and DVR, which all is so well integrated with Search button. I really dont know how many people want to watch episodes directly from ABC and NBC. In any case, these companies need to sell their programming, and its perfectly fine till Google figures out how to share the ad dollars with them. Ultimately Disney needs to be paid for the content.

    I am sure Roku, etc, must be good too, but none of the other solutions can hold so much promise as Google TV. Browser, search, on TV is nirvana, ultimately!

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2011, at 1:21 PM, anuaimi wrote:

    Google TV has the right DNA but needs a heavy dose of usability improvements. Right now its a product that only an engineer could love. I've outlined a number of specific changes that google should made to the next release here

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